For more than a year, we’ve been trained to follow the science on COVID-19 transmission: Stay 6 feet apart, wash your hands, wear a mask.
So now that science from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates we can drop masks if we’re vaccinated, we should expect to move through our daily lives maskless in most settings — and without side-eye. If you’re vaccinated, the science says you can’t spread the disease, and the chances of getting sick are extremely low.
But can we do it? Trust the honor system that when we see people maskless in public, they’ve been safely vaccinated? For those who considered mask-wearing a political statement, this might be a challenge. It shouldn’t be.
Our Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, is following the federal guidelines that say “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance,” according to the CDC website.
June 11 is the target date for a full reopening of Illinois, but only if cases of COVID-19 remain flat. Chicago is on a slower schedule, aiming for a full reopening by the July 4 holiday.
In a statement, Pritzker said: “With public health experts now saying fully vaccinated people can safely remove their masks in most settings, I’m pleased to follow the science and align Illinois’ policies with the CDC’s guidance. I also support the choice of individuals and businesses to continue to mask out of an abundance of caution as this pandemic isn’t over yet.”
So let’s proceed, masks on or off based on our personal comfort levels, without disapproval.